By Carolyn Leighton-Hillborn
Today is National Multiple Births Awareness Day in Canada! It is a day to raise awareness of some of the unique experiences and needs of twins, triplets and more.
Why May 28th?
Started in 2005 by Multiple Births Canada (MBC), the date was chosen in recognition of the famous Dionne Quintuplets, born on May 28, 1934, in Corbiel, Ontario. The Dionne babies were the first known identical quintuplets to survive. The girls were born two months prematurely. The Hospital for Sick Children, even back then, came to the family’s aid; providing quantities of mothers’ milk, incubators, and other necessary equipment to support the babies in their early days. Sadly, their early years were challenging ones, having been made wards of the government in 1935, and being raised as a spectacle to the world.
Multiple Births Canada chose to recognize the Dionnes’ birthday, as well as the challenges they experienced as children, vowing to ensure multiple births children and their families receive advocacy and support they deserve. Read more about the Dionne Quintuplets.
Quick facts about multiple births
Approximately 56% of twins are born prematurely and require a NICU stay
Identical multiples are at risk of a life-threatening condition called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, sometimes requiring delicate laser surgery in utero
Many multiples, who are born prematurely and/or low-birth weight, meet developmental milestones later than average
With these facts in mind (there are many other concerns and unique needs related to multiple births), it is important to ensure families with multiples are able to connect with the medical professionals with experience with multiple births, receive appropriate medical advice in a timely manner, and receive peer support from other experienced parents of multiples.
Multiple Births Canada
Multiple Births Canada is a community of families, educators, researchers, and health professionals in Canada with a personal or professional interest in the well being of multiple births children and those who care for them.
This year MBC has chosen their annual celebratory theme: Connecting Coast to Coast.
Multiple Births Canada’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Jimena Guild, tells us they have been hard at work translating materials to French and added two new board members who are fluent in French. Currently Multiple Births Canada has 11 chapters throughout Canada and it is their goal to connect with more multiple births families from across Canada, doubling their number of chapters over the next year.
Multiple Births Canada welcomes all expectant parents, new parents, and seasoned parents of multiples to reach out to them to learn about the resources they offer, get connected with their several support networks and their closest chapter.
For more details about what Multiple Births Canada is doing to recognize National Multiple Births Awareness day, visit their Facebook page.